City Hook for ‘gem’ links from airports
FINDING THE fastest and most reasonable means of getting from an airport to its adjacent city centre is always a challenge. It is rare to find information about all of the options in one place, and making the wrong decision can end up costing a lot of time and money.
City Hook is a new, free travel app for iPhone and Android smartphones that pulls all of the airport-to-city connection options together in an easy-to-read format. At this point the app has information on more than 130 European airport-city links with more being added all the time. Links within the US are also now coming on stream.
“The idea was to provide a comprehensive, independent source of information that helps people make the best possible connections for them. For one person that might be a taxi. For another it will be public transport,” says Kevin O’Shaughnessy who set up City Hook with Tommaso Solesin in late 2011. The partners met while studying at the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.
“Tommaso and I both love to travel and had realised that every time we landed at a new airport, we were instantly at a loss as to the best option to travel into the city centre. We decided there had to be a solution that would organise airport transport information and make that final part of the journey easier and less stressful. The biggest challenge to date has been researching and collating all of the data,” he adds. “We’ve done most of this ourselves but also have people in different cities who are giving us the benefit of their local knowledge.”
O’Shaughnessy says City Hook is interested in uncovering transport “gems” all over the world. In Dublin, he says, the “gem” is the 16A bus as it goes to the city centre for much less than the other options.
City Hook is based at Nova, UCD’s hub for budding entrepreneurs, and to date the venture has been self-funded. “We felt fundraising would divert our attention away from building the product in the early stages and that if the product was right, and we were getting user traction, we would be in a much stronger position to look for investors,” O’Shaughnessy says.
City Hook’s founders are looking at potential revenue strands, including licensing the information, but initially the firm will make its money by earning a commission on bookings it generates for transport providers. At this point they are ruling out selling advertising space. “We feel it would have an impact on the aesthetics of the app and that it would cheapen the product. We want all the information to be there for free,” he says.